Mount Gambier forward stars under basket in blockbuster win

IN-FORM: Lachie Hunter continued his top season form on the weekend when the Mount Gambier Lakers cleaned up on a double road trip to Horsham and Ararat.

A SUCCESSFUL double-header road trip saw the Mount Gambier Lakers climb one spot further up the Country Basketball League South West conference ladder as a result of two wins from two games.

The Lakers first hit back against Horsham Hornets on Saturday night, the only side to have defeated Mount Gambier this season.

The Hornets had taken the honours at the Icehouse just a couple of weeks prior, but were no match in their own venue, with the visiting Lakers claiming the honours by 20 points.

From there the Lakers faced Ararat and dealt the Redbacks a thrashing, victorious to the tune of 59 points.

Against the Hornets the Lakers were always going to be a handful as they looked to atone for the previous clash.

That loss, coupled with an abandoned game due to rain leaking onto the floor of the main court at the Icehouse, saw the Lakers slide down to third place, with plenty on the line to play for.

From the outset it was apparent the side had come to play, with Kane de Wit and Braiden Ousey first on the board.

Matt Lovell replied for the home side, but Ousey returned serve soon after.

When Matt Lloyd hit a three for the Hornets, then Tim Pickert followed up with a two, they claimed the lead by a solitary point.

However, three two-point baskets followed from Matt Berkefeld and Lachie Hunter and the Lakers were back in front.

The game continued to and fro for the remainder of the term, with the Hornets just sneaking ahead before the first break, but only by a point.

The second term began the same, with neither side able to capitalise on the spirited play.

After a couple of minutes Mitch Hunter hit the boards with two and three-point baskets, which triggered a small run.

Simon Berkefeld and Ousey added two-point baskets to give the Lakers some breathing space, but that was short lived, as the home side hit back.

With three minutes to play before the long break Simon Berkefeld hit back-to-back twos, then followed up with a pair of free throws, while Matt Berkefeld added a two and the Lakers opened the largest margin of the game of 10 points.

That would be the lead at the long break, but the Hornets began to reduce it early in the third term.

Baskets from Lloyd and Lovel slowed the Lakers progress, but another two from Lachie Hunter kept the momentum going.

Lovel dropped another three for the home side, before Ben Lakin added a two and it was a three-point game mid-way through the term.

The Hunters continued their assault on the boards, as did Simon Berkefeld, but the Hornets simply would not go away.

By the final break just four points separated the two sides, with the final stanza set for a blockbuster.

It did not disappoint, as the Lakers opened a small margin before the Hornets closed it down.

With five minutes to play it was a six-point game, but a triple to Kurt Rodis threatened to open the contest up.

Matt Berkefeld added one free throw, followed by twos to de Wit and Lachie Hunter and suddenly the Lakers were out by 14 with three minutes to play.

From there it was a foregone conclusion, with the Lakers finishing the game in style for an 80-60 scoreline.

Lachie Hunter top scored for the game with 19 points, Simon Berkefeld managed 15, Ousey 14, Matt Berkefeld 11 and Mitch Hunter 10.

From there the Lakers backed up to face the Redbacks on Sunday and there was no real challenge.

Maount Gambier skipped out to a 7-0 lead in the opening minutes of play, before Ararat could finally find the basket.

That control continued for the opening term, with the Lakers taking a 23-11 lead at the first break.

There was little the home side could do, as the visitors continued to pile on the pain.

By the long break the lead had blown out to 20 points and continued upwards from there.

De Wit, Lachie Hunter and Ousey were all finding the basket in the third term, with a three from Simon Berkefeld late in the quarter hurting the home side.

By the final break the margin was 36 points and there was little bite left in the Redbacks.

The final siren heralded an 87-28 scoreline, with the Lakers simply asserting their authority on the contest.

Jordan Hollitt topped the scoresheets with 18 points for the Lakers, while Matt Berkefeld (13), de Wit (11) and Simon Berkefeld (10) also reached double figures.

The Lakers now prepare for another road trip, this time to Hamilton to face the Hurricanes.